Okay so this might instantly strike you as not a very serious post but I absolutely urge you to take a minute to read this and to take this seriously because we might well be seeing that start of something truly horrific. The destruction of free speech and free will that the internet allows… Now this is first and foremost a gaming website but I (alongside other gamers out there actually) have to say that this is definitely worth making a post about and as such definitely worth a look.
Now I will do my best to explain SOPA but, for reasons I will mention in the next paragraph, I am definitely not the most advised person on this subject. I suggest you skip to the bottom of the post and check out the videos I post there or that you go here: http://americancensorship.org/ What I am doing right now is simply trying to make anyone reading this more aware of what’s going on (everyone should be told) and you should do the same! Watch the videos and then tell everyone you can to check out the site I just linked!
Okay so first and foremost. I am a Biology student in my first year, that means that Law and Politics isn’t something I know too much about in any detail whatsoever. Also I am actually fairly useless with current affairs, so that’s another blow against me and my opinions there.
Despite these things I still have a voice and I can, due to the glorious entity that is the Internet I can be heard by whoever chooses to listen. So for what little it is worth here are my thoughts. And even with my overwhelmingly under-informed mind I know that the Bill that is being debated in US Congress is one of the most horrifying blows against free speech I have ever heard…
Okay so. What is SOPA?
SOPA is the abbreviation for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It is a Bill that was introduced in Parliament earlier this year. Basically the idea of the Bill is that it will, as the name suggests Stop Online Piracy. In reality the Bill:
“would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling copyright infringement. Depending on who requests the court orders, the actions could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.” (Source: Wikipedia. Told you I wasn’t very well informed.)
It is a lot to get your head around but basically what we are talking about is the large-scale censorship of websites on the internet. Any site that has anything another company deems “Copyright” could be sued. The site would not be allowed to have adverts or post links for itself anywhere any more, money-transaction organisations (like PayPal) would not be allowed to operate on the site, search engines (like Google) would not be able to post links to the site if searched and in worst case scenarios the website could even be blocked from the public domain completely via the use of the same DNS blocking used in countries like China, Iran and Syria (Source: AmericanCensorship).
This all means that SOPA (and a bill called Protect IP) could lead to massive censorship of the internet. It could lead to the shutting down of sites like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and any other of those massive social networking sites that allow people to express themselves and exercise their right to freedom of Speech.
The bills will give the big corporations the power to prevent the public from accessing websites and content that they do not like and actually it will do very little to prevent piracy. What it will more effectively stop is the ability for smaller indie companies (and this includes in gaming) the ability to show off their product and innovation.
You could even become a criminal for posting a Youtube video of your child with copyrighted music playing in the background or posting a link to a song you like on Facebook.
If I haven’t convinced you yet that these bills would be one of the biggest blows to free speech in a long time here are some: Videos that explain it better:
I’ve said it already. I am not the best advised person on this and I want to direct you to people who do know what they are talking about. First off, this three minute video explains exactly why SOPA and Protect IP are bad things (I urge you above everything else to watch this):
Okay so that’s what SOPA is. Here is another video in which TotalBiscuit (also known as The Cynical Brit) explains the possible ramifications of SOPA (another must see):
What can be done?
Underneath his video on Youtube (in the description) TotalBiscuit posts a number of links. These links include articles about the Bills and include petitions against the bill. Also if you are from the USA, as well as signing these petitions you should (as TotalBiscuit urges) write to your representative to do something about it.
Mainly though I think that if nothing else you should ALL take a brief second of your time to sign here to try and stop this atrocity.
I mean come on people! Don’t you see what’s happening?!? Big Corporations getting power? This is the Templars! The Templars are finally taking over! We have to stop them!
NOTHING IS TRUE. EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.